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Hotel industry group calls for loosening of mainland tourist laws

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- An industry association on Monday stated their expectation that Taiwan's hotel occupancy rate would see a 20-percent increase after more individual Chinese tourists are allowed into Taiwan starting from December, and called for Taiwan to quickly extend programs to accept individual tourists from 54 mainland cities.

Taiwan Tourist Hotel Association (TTHA) President Lai Cheng-I (賴正鎰) yesterday said he expected Taiwan's hotel-occupancy rate and overnight fees to maintain a growth trajectory, even though the number of mainland tourists traveling in groups has shown a significant decrease after China's new tourism law went into force in October.

Lai Cheng-I is also chairman of Shining Group (鄉林建設) and the newly elected chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce (ROCCOC). On the eve of China's enforcement of its new tourism law on Oct. 1, local authorities announced the enlargement of daily quotas of Chinese tourists traveling individually to Taiwan to 3,000.

Lai yesterday said that he expected that occupancy rates at Taiwan's hotels will rise by 20 percent in the near term thanks to a growing number of individual Chinese tourists choosing Taiwan as their destination for getaways.

Apart from the relaxation of daily quotas, Lai told United Evening News that local authorities should probably move to swiftly expand the number of mainland Chinese cities whose residents are allowed to visit Taiwan as individual tourists.

With the current number of such cities standing at 26, Lai said that 28 other cities should be added to the list, as Chinese residents in those cities can use direct aviation services to commute to Taiwanese cities. “The sooner, the better,” Lai added.

TTHA's recent survey showed that in the current year to October, overnight fees at 110 tourist hotels in Taiwan averaged NT$3,619, a 5-percent jump year-over-year, while the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan in the year to November passed 1.95 million, a 10-percent growth on the previous year.

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